No matter how tidy you are, your electronic gadgets can get super dusty and dirty before you know it. Obviously, the last thing you want is a smudged TV screen while watching your favorite show or a grimy phone while taking an important call — not to mention all the germs living on there! Luckily, most popular devices are pretty easy to refresh, try these handy tricks and they are sure to sparkle once more.
How to Clean a TV Screen
According to Consumer Reports, a dry, soft cloth is usually all you need to clean a TV screen. Most modern TVs fall under the categories of either OLED or LCD sets, and the cleaning advice is the same for both. “Your best bet is to use a soft, anti-static microfiber cloth — the kind used to clean eyeglasses and camera lenses — and wipe in a circular motion,” says cleaning expert John Walsh in an interview with Consumer Reports. “Gently wipe the screen with a dry cloth to remove dust and other debris, but don’t press too hard.”
If you’re dealing with stubborn stains, you can dampen that same cloth with distilled water before wiping gently again. If you do that, be sure to wipe down the whole screen once more with a dry cloth, so that you’re not left with annoying streaks after it dries. Avoid spraying water directly on the device, which can shock the system and cause damage. If — and only if — you have an older TV with a glass screen, you can also use a window cleaner to suds the screen down.
If you’re not sure what type of TV you have, consult your user manual and go from there. Psst: This is an excellent time to dust off the rest of your TV set, along with any cabinet or stand it happens to be mounted on.
How to Clean a Phone Screen
While it might be tempting to purchase a pricey “electronics cleaning cloth,” you can clean a phone screen with items you probably already have at home. According to Popular Mechanics, all you need is distilled water, pure cotton or microfiber cloths, and potentially isopropyl alcohol. First, give your mobile device a light, dry wipe down with your cloth. Next, soak the cloth in distilled water and run it across your phone screen from side to side. Be sure to refold the cloth every couple of strokes so a clean section is always touching your screen. Then, wipe it with a dry cloth. If you notice any gunk on the edges, use a dry cotton swab to remove it.
If you have an iPhone or another gadget with a screen coating that self-cleans (refer to the user manual or the product’s website if you’re not sure), your work here is probably done. These types of screens can be quite sensitive, so it’s best to avoid using the isopropyl alcohol cleaning method for them. However, if you have a phone without this specific type of screen coating, you can use this cleaning hack: Prepare a 50-50 mix of isopropyl alcohol and distilled water to dip your cloth into to remove any super tough stains.
How to Clean a Computer Screen
Before you start cleaning a computer screen, it’s a good idea to start by shutting your monitor down entirely. According to Digital Trends, it’s much easier to see smudges and stains on a dark computer screen rather than one that’s lit up. After you do that, grab a microfiber cloth and go to work. Gently wipe the screen in long motions. For most standard messiness, that should be all you need.
If you have anything ickier or trickier than dust on your computer screen, you may need to add a simple cleaning solution to the cloth. First, try dipping it into distilled water before wiping. If that’s not enough, you can add a bit of distilled white vinegar to the water to help loosen the grime. You also have the option of using a gentle cleaning fluid specifically designed for computer monitors, but in most cases the DIY method should suffice. Important: Don’t spray any liquid directly on the monitor, as it can cause damage. After you’re done cleaning, let your computer dry completely before turning it on.
If you’re ever in doubt about the best way to clean your electronics, consult the user’s manual. Chances are, you’re just a few steps away from a clean screen once more!